“Our Lady of America”
ROME CITY, INDIANA, USA (1956-1958)
The story of Our Lady of America truly began on May 10, 1846, when one Archbishop and 22 U.S. Bishops met in Baltimore, Maryland, (the first Catholic diocese in the United States) for the 6th Provincial Council of Baltimore. On that date they petitioned Rome, Italy to have the Blessed Virgin, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, become Patroness of the United States (only 28 states at that time). In 1847 that petition was granted by Pope Pius IX, and Mary – under the title of her Immaculate Conception – became Patroness of the U.S.A.
It was not until eight years later, on December 8, 1854, that Pope Pius IX would define the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in his Apostolic Constitution, Ineffabilis Deus. Less than four years later, on the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1858, Our Lady would confirm that dogma by identifying herself to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France, as “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
On September 12, 1930, at the age of 14, Mildred Neuzil entered the active religious congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, a papal religious community. At age 17, Mildred made her first vows as a professed religious and received the name Sister Mary Ephrem. Her duties centered in Washington, D.C. until 1937 when she was sent to Cincinnati, Ohio. She began to have mystical experiences in 1938 – but assumed such things were common to all religious, so she paid very little attention to them.
Her eloquent locutions from Jesus in the 1940’s led her confessor to caution her about possibly having an overactive imagination. Rev. Paul Liebold, her spiritual director from 1940—1972, instructed her to start writing these experiences in her diary. While stationed in North Dakota in 1948, the messages became more pressing. Sister began to write them down more diligently. Various priests found nothing adverse to faith or morals in the messages which indicated a theological understanding that exceeded what Sister could have learned from her courses.
May 22, 1954: (from Jesus)
“My little white dove, if the world is dying, it is because it will not let Me give it life.
I am the resurrection and the life, and unless souls seek their life in Me, they will find only death and destruction. They fear man-made destroyers of life, yet destruction is in themselves. Man destroys himself through the evil that is in himself. Implements of war kill only that which is without. Man kills that within himself which none but he can kill. God is light; man is darkness, and unless he comes into the light, he will be forever darkness. The Voice of My Heart is the Voice of Mercy. If man will not listen, there is no more I can do, for he ties My hands.”
May 29, 1954: (from Jesus)
“My little white dove, do you know what I find most lacking in the world today? It is Faith. There are so few souls that believe in Me and My love. They profess their belief and their love, but they do not live this belief. Their hearts are cold, for without faith there can be no love. Pray and sacrifice yourself, My Child, that faith may once again find entrance into the hearts of man.”
July 11, 1954: (from Jesus)
“Children are not taught to love Me, because those who have charge over them have no time or patience to do so. My Heart grieves over My children in the world. Their hearts are being driven farther and farther away from Me. They will not even listen to My Mother, because they have never been taught to listen (to Her).”
“My Father is angry. If My children will not listen to My Heart, which is the Voice of Mercy and Instruction, punishment will come swiftly, and none shall be able to stay it. The pleadings of My Heart have held back the divine justice about to descend on an ungrateful and sinful generation. Woe to the parents who set a bad example to their children! Terrible will be their judgment. I will demand a strict accounting of every soul entrusted to their care. Woe to the children who disobey and show disrespect towards their parents! ‘Honor thy father and thy mother.’ On this shall they be judged most severely.
July 12-14, 1954: (from Jesus)
“Blessed are the homes that honor My Name and the Name of My Father.
Blessed are the homes where I am loved, for there the Holy Trinity dwells.
Blessed are the parents and children who have made a home for God in their hearts. Little secretary of My Heart, write these instructions for the sanctification of My people.
Return My people, for My Heart hungers and thirsts for your love. If you will not return, the just anger of My Father will descend upon you. What would you choose – My love or My Father’s anger? Choose, and as you choose, so shall it be done. I will not force your free will, for that is yours to use as you desire.”
In the autumn of 1954, Sister is graced with an appearance of St. Michael, the Angel of Peace, who offered her a sword (to conquer the world, the self, and the devil), a palm (for victory), and a cross (for the suffering she would be asked to endure in union with Jesus’ passion). As Sister was suspicious of the offer of a palm of victory – for she could think of no victory of hers deserving of such a reward. So then St. Michael asked her if she would accept the cross. When she agreed to accept the cross, St. Michael replied,
“Then you will accept the palm and the sword. With the sword the saints conquered themselves, the world, and the devil. I am the Angel of Peace; I come to those whose hearts are attuned to the Voice of God. To such as these I remain a perpetual light through blinding darkness. I was sent by Him who said, ‘I am the Light of the world.”
November 20, 1955 (appearance of St. Gabriel)
“I knelt down and asked him, ‘Who are you?’ He replied, ‘I am the Angel Gabriel. I have come to tell you that Our Lord is pleased with your effort to do good. He asks that you go to His Mother and learn great purity of heart.”
Following the visits of these two archangels, the apparitions of Our Lady began, and the favor and the responsibility to her children in America were made very clear.
September 25, 1956: Our Lady appeared to Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil, during a private Holy Hour in the chapel at Kneipp Springs in Rome City, Indiana. Our Lady said,
“I am pleased, my children, with the love and honor my children in America give to me, especially through my glorious and unique privilege of the Immaculate Conception. I promise to reward their love by working through the power of my Son’s Heart and my Immaculate Heart, miracles of grace among them. I do not promise miracles of the body, but of the soul. Let America continue and grow in its love for me, and I in return, in union with the Heart of My Son, promise to work wonders in her. My child, I desire that this be known.”
September 26, 1956: After Mass the next morning, the Feast of the North American Martyrs, Our Lady appeared to Sister, enveloped in a soft glow of light. Sister describes:
“What I noticed was the smile on Our Lady’s beautiful countenance and the lily She held in Her right hand. She wore a white veil, reaching almost to the waist, and a mantle and robe of pure white with not a single decoration of any kind. I noticed the green color of the lily stem in Her hand and the white sash or belt which She wore around Her waist. It seemed to be made of the same material as the robe. It was narrow – very narrow – and no ends of it could be seen at all. An oblong-shaped clasp or brooch held the ends of the mantle together at the top. It was all gold, as was the high and brilliant crown which She wore.
Her hair and eyes seemed of medium brown. Her feet were bare, but these I did not always see, as they were sometimes covered by the moving clouds on which Our Lady stood. She continued to smile. Then I saw Her Heart appear, encircled with red roses, the symbol of suffering as it was revealed to me, and sending forth flames of fire. With Her left hand Our Lady seemed to be holding up slightly the upper part of Her mantle, so that her Immaculate Heart could be seen. Then, solemnly and distinctly, in calm and majestic tones, I heard these words:”
“I am Our Lady of America. I desire that my children honor me, especially by the purity of their lives.”
“She was very beautiful, and her smile held me.” Later that day, Mary continued:
“My child, I entrust YOU with this message that you must make known to My children in America. I wish it to be the country dedicated to My purity. The wonders I will work will be the wonders of the soul. They must have faith and believe firmly in My love for them. I desire that they be the children of My Pure Heart. I desire, through My children of America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations. Let them come to Me with confidence and simplicity, and I, their Mother, will teach them to become pure like to My Heart – that their own hearts may be more pleasing to the Heart of My Son.”
September 27, 1956: Our Lady appeared to Sister while she was in prayer. Mary was holding the world in Her hands. Tears from Her eyes were flowing down upon it. It was as though She longed to cleanse the earth from its guilt.
“I come to you, O Children of America, as a last resort. I plead with you to listen to My voice. Cleanse your souls in the Precious Blood of My Son. Live in His Heart, and take me in — that I may teach you to live in great purity of heart which is so pleasing to God. Be My army of chaste soldiers, ready to fight to the death to preserve the purity of your souls. I am the Immaculate One, Patroness of your land. Be my faithful children as I have been your faithful Mother. These are My words, O my daughter. Make them known to My children. I desire to make the whole of America my shrine by making every heart accessible to the love of My Son.”
October 13, 1956: Our Lady appears to Sister and describes Her desire for a National Basilica in Washington D.C. while holding a replica in both of her hands:
“This is My shrine, My daughter. I am very pleased with it. Tell My children I thank them. Let them finish it quickly and make it a place of pilgrimage. It will be a place of wonders. I promise this. I will bless all those who, either by prayers, labor, or material aid, help to erect this shrine.”
Three years later on November 20, 1959, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. was completed. It is the largest Catholic Church in the United States and in all of North and South America. It is the 8th largest Catholic Church in the world.
Bishop Liebold was so convinced of the authenticity of these messages that he officially approved her diary and the sketch of the medal that Our Lady had asked Sister Mildred to have struck: – Virgin Mary on the front; Christian family and Trinity on back.
“It is the United States that is to lead the world to peace, the peace of Christ, the peace that He brought with Him from Heaven. Dear children, unless the United States accepts and carries out faithfully the mandate given it by heaven to lead the world to peace, there will come upon it and all nations a great havoc of war and incredible suffering. If, however, the United States is faithful to this mandate from heaven and yet fails in the pursuit of peace because the rest of the world will not accept or cooperate, then the United States will not be burdened with the punishment about to fall…Weep then, dear children, weep with your mother over the sins of men.”
“It is the darkest hour, but if men will come to me, my Immaculate Heart will make it bright again with the mercy which my Son will rain down through my hands. Help me save those who will not save themselves. Help me bring once again the sunshine of God’s peace upon the world.”
“My faithful one, if my warnings are taken seriously and enough of my children strive constantly and faithfully to renew and reform themselves in their inward and outward lives, then there will be no nuclear war. What happens to the world depends upon those who live in it. There must be much more good than evil prevailing in order to prevent the holocaust that is so near approaching. Yet, I tell you, my daughter, even should such a destruction happen because there were not enough souls who took my warning seriously, there will remain a remnant, untouched by the chaos who, having been faithful in following me and spreading my warnings, will gradually inhabit the earth again with their dedicated and holy lives.”
Strong warnings were repeated by Our Lady throughout 1957 and 1958, and thereafter, indicating that the hour grows late (and the Cuban Missile Crisis was about to occur in 1961). In August of 1957, Mary stated,
“What I ask, have asked, and will continue to ask is for reformation of life. There must be sanctification from within. I will work miracles of grace only in those who ask for them and empty their souls of the love and attachment to sin and all that is displeasing to my Son. Souls who cling to sin cannot have their hands free to receive the treasures of grace that I hold out to them.”
Pope John XXIII sent a letter of glowing praise and dedication for this new church in September of 1959:
“There now rises up to heaven a shrine, high and massive, wondrously bright within … the Virgin Mother of God is our Mother, our Queen, the sure way by which we approach most speedily to Jesus Christ, who was given to us by Her. Let an altar of the Most Blessed Virgin be set up in the heart of each one of the faithful …”